Electric Vehicles in Bhutan
«The electric scooters displayed at Shearee square
The enterprise is eyeing the Indian market where supply falls far short of demand
Electric Vehicles Thunder Motors sold five of its electric vehicles, two cars and three bikes, at its formal launch yesterday in Shearee square, Thimphu.
“It’s been a good start, with high interest shown by the people,” owner of Thunder Motors, Tashi Wangchuk, said. “People are curious and fascinated about the vehicles, with phone calls coming in from most dzongkhags, such as Paro, Sarbang and Tashigang.”
Thimphu City corporation (TCC) and National Environment commission bought the cars, which cost Nu 600,000 each. The price for bikes ranges between Nu 70,000 to Nu 90,000.
Tashi Wangchuk told Kuensel that the electric vehicles are fitted with either the regular gel battery, which gives a mileage of 160km, or the lithium battery, which charges faster and gives a mileage of about 250km. The lithium batteries are more expensive.
When asked on how buyers, who have to park by the roadside, can charge the battery, Tashi Wangchuk said Thunder Motors has discussed with TCC about setting up charging stations at parking lots near shopping centres and the taxi parking, without having to pay parking fees, and also along the highways in the country.
“Nine charging stations have already been set up at Thimphu Tech-park in Serbithang, and we’ll invest USD 3M to set up other charging stations around the country,” Tashi said. “There’s provision for putting solar panels, either on the car bonnet or roof, but the charge would depend on weather conditions.”
Each charging station costs about USD 50,000 to set up. Talks are also ongoing with Druk holding and Investments about investing as equity share holder in establishing an assembly plant for the vehicles in the country. The first batch of vehicles were assembled in Phuentsholing, with parts sourced from China, Japan, Germany and U.S..
Thunder Motors has already started assembling 10 more cars in Thimphu, with more car parts to come next month. They also provide services to transform petrol and diesel cars to electric cars.
India is seen as the main market. A study done by Thunder Motors on electric cars in India found that India has a demand for 500,000 cars a year, but supply was only 6,000 a year. Thunder Motors also intend to export the electric vehicles to Nepal and Bangladesh.